June 3, 2020
Envision Charlotte, a nonprofit in North Carolina, is collecting plastic food containers to melt down and turn into personal protective equipment (PPE).
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders, residential waste has increased across the country, which also means more plastic is making its way into the waste stream and not being recycled. To help divert some of the plastic going to landfills, Envision Charlotte is collecting plastic food containers to melt down and reuse as PPE.
“First, the machine, which isn’t here yet, will take this plastic and chip it,” Envision Charlotte Executive Director Amy Aussieker says. “Then we take those plastic chips and put them in the hopper here. After it goes into the hopper, it’s melted and will come out the back end here and then it will go over the cooling table there.”
This practice produces filaments that are used for the top part of the medical face shield. Those parts will then be donated to a manufacturer to attach the clear slip.
“This machine can produce enough filament to make 576 shields a day,” Aussieker says.
Envision started collecting plastic containers on May 29 and organizations currently producing PPE can apply for free filament starting July 1.